From: Monty Solomon <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

In deal reached by eight-company consortium
By Paul Sweeting  1/23/2006

Some buyers of HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players might not get
everything they bargained for.

In a deal reached this week after tense negotiations, the
eight-company consortium behind the Advanced Access Content System,
created for use by both high-def formats to prevent unauthorized
copying, has agreed to require hardware makers to bar some high-def
signals from being sent from players to displays over analog
connections, sources said.

Instead, the affected analog signal must be "down-converted" from the
full 1920x1080 lines of resolution the players are capable of
outputting to 960x540 lines--a resolution closer to standard DVDs
than to high-def. Standard DVDs are typically encoded at 720
horizontal by 480 vertical lines of resolution.

The 960x540 standard stipulated in the AACS agreement represents 50%
higher resolution than standard-def, but only one-quarter the
resolution of full high-def. Whether a particular movie is
down-converted will be up to the studio.

The players will be required to recognize and respond to a digital
flag, called an Image Constraint Token, inserted into the movie data.

If the flag is set to "on," the player must down-convert the analog
signal. If set to "off," the player can pass the full high-def signal
over the analog connections.

The studios are divided over whether to require such down-conversion
and are likely to follow separate policies.

Hardware makers had generally resisted the requirement, but under the
new deal, ICT recognition will be included in the AACS license that
all device makers and playback software vendors will have to sign.


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